Make That Binge-amin.
Mike Benjamin, a career utility player with the Giants, last week put together one of the best three-game hitting performances in this century, when he had 14 hits in 18 at bats. Playing third base in place i of the injured Matt Williams, Benjamin (below) went 4 for 6 against the Expos on June 11, 4 for 5 against the Cubs on June 13 and 6 for 7 against Chicago on June 14, raising his batting average from .150 to .447 in the process. The 14 hits over three consecutive games broke the major league record of 13, and his 10 hits in two games tied a National League mark. Benjamin only went 1 for 5 against the Cubs on June 15, but he still became the first player since Walt Dropo of the Tigers in 1952 to get 15 hits in four consecutive games. The person who seemed the least impressed with Benjamin's feat was Benjamin. "My wife says, 'Why don't you ever jump up and down, or yell?' " he said. "It's because there's another game tomorrow, and then I have to find a way to get a hit." Benjamin, 29, only had 87 hits in 471 at bats (.185) spread over seven seasons before his three-game salvo. In fact, he had just 13 hits between June 10, 1994, and June 11, 1995. The ensuing barrage marked the first time in his major league career that he had four hits in a game, as well as the first time he had back-to-back multihit games. On June 11 the Expos' Rondell White went 6 for 7 in a 13-inning game against San Francisco. When Benjamin followed three days later with his six-hit game (also in 13 innings), it marked the seventh year in which two National League players accomplished the feat in the same season.
Oh, No, It's Nomo.
Dodger pitcher Hideo Nomo, who struck out 14 Pirates in seven innings on May 17, struck out 16 Pittsburgh batters in eight innings on June 14. Nomo thus became the first National League pitcher since Dwight Gooden of the Mets in 1985 to have a 14-strikeout game and a 16-strikeout performance in the same season. In both instances, Gooden was pitching against the Giants and the opposing starter was Jim Gott—who is now a reliever for the Pirates. "That's incredible, that's weird," Gott says. "Maybe pitchers get excited when I'm around, but I don't think so." Gott says Nomo's forkball is the best he has seen since Mike Scott threw that pitch so effectively for the Astros in '86.
The release of reliever Mitch Williams by the Angels last Saturday was not surprising. The Wild Thing never regained the velocity he had as late as midway through the 1993 season—he threw in the low 90's for the Phillies then—and he was as wild as ever. In 10? innings of middle relief with California this year, he walked 21 and had a 6.75 ERA. If Williams, who considered retirement last year after being released by the Astros, is indeed finished, he will leave with this astounding stat on his r�sum�: 526 hits and 537 walks allowed in 684? innings, making him the only pitcher in baseball history to throw more than 250 innings and give up more walks than hits.